A new painting by Mississippi State associate professor Jeanne Jones is being used to benefit Bear Education and Restoration Mississippi.
The artist's limited-edition signed and numbered prints of a mother bear with two cubs are being offered for sale to aid the Rolling Fork-based non-profit organization.
Founded in 2004, BEaR works to conserve healthy populations of black bears throughout the Magnolia State.
Jones, an MSU doctoral graduate, is a wildlife and fisheries faculty member at the Forest and Wildlife Research Center.
Her painting is inspired by the 2004 birth in Mississippi of two cubs--the first such documented event in more than 40 years. The work captures the elusive, federally protected species in one of its native habitats, along the river's edge in a bottomland hardwood forest.
Up until nearly a century ago, black bears were prevalent throughout the state. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt's refusal to kill a captured bear while hunting near Rolling Fork resulted, over time, in the national popularization of teddy bear toys as much-sought gifts for children of all ages.
The animals' decline in Mississippi was due, in large part, to habitat alteration and over-harvest. Efforts in recent years to restore habitats and pass protective laws have reflected changing public attitudes about the native species.
Prints of Jones's work are $50 each, plus $5 for shipping and handling. Orders may be completed via the BEaR Web site, http://www.msbear.org/ .
Along with a print, purchasers receive a free, one-year membership in the organization.